English Course Descriptions: Summer 2014

Department Of English



Summer Session I (May 19 – June 13) | Summer Session II (June 16 – August 7)


English 202 X—MEDIEVAL LIT & CULTURE, Trilling. MTuWTh 12-2:50

same as MDVL 201, CWL 253

major requirements (old) – Group I

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (medieval)

Knights in shining armor fighting monsters. Saints performing miracles. Kings leading armies into battle. Monks offering prayers through their daily offices. Peasants tilling the fields. These are some of the most popular and enduring images of the Middle Ages, and in this course we will explore the literature, art, and history that gave rise to our ideas of the romance and chivalry of the medieval period. Our goal will be to read a broad range of medieval literature (all in modern English translation) from around the world: England, the Continent, the Arab world, and Asia. We will explore a variety of genres, including epics, sagas, romances, fabliaux, riddles, lyrics, and saints’ lives, and we will work to situate each work in its social and historical contexts with visits to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, the Spurlock Museum, and the Krannert Art Museum.

N.B. This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for a Literature and the Arts, and Western/Comparative Cultures course.

Requirements: daily attendance and participation, short reading responses, a midterm, and a final.

English 267 LJ—GRIMMS’ FAIRY TALES IN CONTEXT, Johnson. MTuWTh 2-4:20

same as GER 250, CWL 250

Special attention is paid to the Grimms’ tales in terms of traditional narrative genres, elements of life in early modern Europe, and versions from Italy and France as well as Germany. Course is conducted in English. This course fulfills the campus Advanced Composition requirement.

English 268 NS—THE HOLOCAUST IN CONTEXT, Suvak. MTuWTh 9-11:50

same as GER 260, CWL 271

This course examines cultural representations of the Holocaust in literature, film, and critical essays. It is not a course about the Holocaust per se, but about its representations. What this means is that a simple collection of facts for the sake of a convenient, summary explanation of what the Holocaust “is,” is not the point. During the course of the semester, we will study a number of cultural attempts to come to terms with something that eludes full comprehension. You will come to ask yourself how “understanding,” an act that we commonly perceive to be both illuminating and relieving, is transformed when straightforward meaning and legibility can no longer be taken for granted. Starting out with a discussion of contemporary memory culture in the US and Germany, the course introduces students to the historical context of the Third Reich, the Holocaust, and the Second Word War. We then turn to a variety of postwar texts, including memoirs, poems, essays, memorials, documentary and feature film, to explore how Jewish and non-Jewish writers have dealt with issues of perpetration, survival, trauma, and memory in postwar German culture and beyond. This course fulfills the campus Advanced Composition requirement.

English 373 X—SPECIAL TOPICS IN FILM STUDIES, Capino. MTuWTh 12-2:50

same as MACS 373

TOPIC: American Independent Cinema

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

Do American independent films “treat inherently American concerns with primarily European style”? The critic Annette Insdorf (quoted) claims they do. And yet as the critic herself admits, her definition would exclude many indie films. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," for example, is non-European-looking and at the same time, is not “inherently American” in its concerns. In this course, we will examine various practices of independent filmmaking from the 1950s to the present. Three different registers will define our approach: the aesthetic, the political, and the economic. This will allow us to range across the breadth of indie filmmaking practices and to study independent films closely as art objects, political statements, and commodities. The major requirements include 30 pages of reading per week, quizzes, exams, and writing assignments.

English 455 1U/1G—MAJOR AUTHORS, Hansen. MTuWTh 9-11:50

TOPIC: Hitchcock

major requirements (old) – Group IV

major requirements (new) – n/a

By focusing on the films that Alfred Hitchcock directed between 1935 and 1960, this course will explore the psychoanalytic and ideological fears that animate some of the most talked about texts in cinema history. Framed by the historical horrors of World War II and the subsequent expansion of American economic and military power, the films of Hitchcock’s most fertile period helped to develop—and simultaneously to conceal—psychological concerns about modern masculinity, sadism, masochism, and consumer culture. By interrogating films ranging from The Lady Vanishes and Rebecca to Psycho, we will attempt to engage not only with the manifest messages of Hitchcock’s cinema, but also with the latent and troubling fears about our society and ourselves that his cinema seems to embody.

Course requirements include two 8 page research papers, 1 in-class presentation, a daily reading journal, and two exams.

English 593 B—PROF SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHG, Hutner. MTuWTh 9-11:50

TOPIC: Professionalizing Future Faculty

This course is conceived as a publishing workshop where students will be revising dissertation chapters or seminar papers into publishable articles. Students can expect to present several drafts of their essays over 4 weeks, in addition to critiquing the work of other students. The bulk of our time will be concerned with this process, but we will consider at substantial length various aspects of academic publishing, including, on the practical level, the protocols of academic publishing and choosing the appropriate journals, and, on the hypothetical, revising dissertations into books and sizing up presses as potential homes for manuscripts. Whatever time remains will also be spent previewing material about the relation between publishing and one’s academic career. The course is recommended for Stage 3 students in Writing Studies as well as English and American literature, though master’s students are also welcome.


English 104 ONL—INTRO TO FILM, Slobodnik. ONLINE section

This introductory film studies course aims to develop students’ capacity for critical film viewing and deepened understanding of the cinema experience. We first study analysis of narrative strategies, shot properties, mise-en-scène, acting, editing, and the use of sound in films, especially classical Hollywood movies. We then focus also on different genres and styles of films, including, e.g., film noir and musicals, as well as alternative independent films.

Expect to watch 2-4 films per week, and to write a couple of weekly lessons focused on aspects of film form, styles, and or functions—submitted online, these include several short essays; to take a midterm and a final; and participate in online discussions.

Course film list: (week 1) The Artist (2011), The Player (1992), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), North by Northwest (1959); (week 2) Mildred Pierce (2011), Lost in Translation (2003); (week 3) Chinatown (1974), Citizen Kane (1941); (week 4) Life Lessons from New York Stories (1989); (week 5) The Westerns – choose one from each list: List A Stagecoach (1939), Red River (1948), High Noon (1952), Shane (1953) – List B The Searchers (1956), The Wild Bunch (1969), Dances with Wolves (1990), Unforgiven (1992); (week 6) The Piano (1993), Blade Runner (1982); (week 7) Select one of the following: A Separation (2011), Daughters of the Dust (1991), 8 ½ (1963), I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987), Monsoon Wedding (2001), The Passenger (1975), Rashomon (1950), Talk to Her (2002), Three Colors: Red (1994), Wings of Desire (1987).

TEXT: Bordwell, David and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction, 10th ed., McGraw-Hill

English 119 D—LITERATURE OF FANTASY, C. Wright. MTuWTh 12:30-1:45

same as CWL 119

From Mordor to Gormenghast: Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Peake’s Gormenghast Trilogy: If J. R. R. Tolkien’s trilogy The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955, rev. 1966) established the dominant paradigm for the genre of secondary-world fantasy fiction, Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy (1946-1959) established a contrary paradigm that, while far less influential, has been all the more important as an alternative to hobbitry—so much so that Peake has sometimes been described as “the anti-Tolkien.” Among contemporary fantasy writers who have preferred Peake’s vision, China Miéville has gone so far as to say that “The nicest thing anyone ever said about [my novel] Perdido Street Station was that it read like a fantasy book written in an alternate world where the Gormenghast trilogy rather than Lord of the Rings was the most influential work in the genre.” In contrast to Tolkien’s enchanted and multi-peopled Middle-earth, Peake’s grimmer and grimier Gormenghast has neither magic nor non-human races, while Peake’s eccentrically baroque prose style is nothing like Tolkien’s archaizing neo-medievalism. Compare Peake’s “The Tower of Flints, … patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven” with Tolkien’s “the Tower of Ecthelion … shone out against the sky, glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver, tall and fair and shapely, and its pinnacle glittered as if it were wrought of crystals …” While some admirers of either trilogy can’t abide the other—like baseball fans who love the Yankees and hate the Red Sox, or vice versa—there also many readers (among them C. S. Lewis) for whom the secondary worlds of Tolkien and Peake represent equally absorbing if utterly different or even antithetical visions. In this class we’ll try to read each trilogy on its own terms while at the same time reading them against each other as the antipodes of secondary-world fantasy fiction. To facilitate that we’ll alternate volumes from each trilogy, beginning with The Fellowship of the Ring followed by Titus Groan, then The Two Towers followed by Gormenghast, and concluding with The Return of the King followed by selections from Titus Alone.

TEXTS: J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 50th Anniversary One-Volume Edition (Boston/New York, 2004; Mervyn Peake, The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy (London, 2011)


CW 104 is the beginning course in the writing of short fiction. There may be some minimal “structuring” and specific assignments, especially in the beginning, to ease the student into the discipline of writing fictional prose. Somewhat less production is expected than in the more advanced courses. Students will be required to submit their own stories for criticism from the class. An anthology of short fiction may be required.

Rhetoric 105 X—PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION (proposed name change: Writing and Research). MTuWTh 12:30-1:45

Instruction in research-based writing and the construction of academic, argumentative essays that use primary and secondary sources as evidence. This course fulfills the Campus Composition I general education requirement. Credit is not given for both RHET 105 and of these other Comp I courses: RHET 101, RHET 102, CMN 111 or CMN 112.

Rhetoric 105 F—PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION (proposed name change: Writing and Research). MTuWTh 2-3:15

Instruction in research-based writing and the construction of academic, argumentative essays that use primary and secondary sources as evidence. This course fulfills the Campus Composition I general education requirement. Credit is not given for both RHET 105 and of these other Comp I courses: RHET 101, RHET 102, CMN 111 or CMN 112.

Rhetoric 233 D—PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION (proposed name change: Advanced Rhetoric and Composition). MTuWTh 11-12:15

Advanced level instruction in developing research-based arguments of moderate complexity within a special topics format. Introduction to the use of multimodal or other non-print resources as evidence in written arguments. Prerequisite: Completion of campus Composition I general education requirement. Fulfills campus Advanced Composition general education requirement.

B&TW 250—PRINCIPLES OF BUSINESS COMMUNICATION, Multiple sections - see course schedule.

This course teaches students to apply the principles of successful professional communication to business writing tasks. Students will also practice editing and supervising the writing of others. Assignments replicate typical business cases, scenarios, situations and cultures; they also deal with multiple audiences. They range in complexity, length, formatting demands, and the manipulating of genre. This course features an extended section on writing longer reports based on information collected, interpreted and compiled from several sources. This course fulfills the campus Advanced Composition requirement.

B&TW 271 OL1—PERSUASIVE WRITING. MTuWTh 7-8:15 pm (ONLINE section)

This course teaches students to apply the principles of successful persuasive communicating to the writing of documents in the organizational domains of advertising, marketing, and public relations. Students will analyze, design, and write a range of documents used by organizations to persuade individuals to perform certain actions. These document genres can range from codes of conduct to media releases, from print advertising to direct mail to website content, from reports to policies to procedural guides. Students will also practice editing and supervising the writing of others.

Get in Touch

Cookie Settings